PLACER COUNTY, Calif. – A California woman said she is lucky to be alive after being attacked by a bear who made its way into the kitchen of her family’s North Lake Tahoe vacation home, according to multiple reports.
Laurel-Rose Von Hoffmann-Curzi, 66, underwent surgery at UC Davis after suffering severe injuries to her face and lacerations to her arms, chest and back during the attack early Saturday morning at her family’s home in Tahoe Vista, KTVU and SFGate reported.
“I am so incredibly lucky to be alive,” Hoffmann-Curzi told KPIX-TV on Wednesday. “No question.”
The Orinda resident told SFGate that she had been isolating at the vacation home to protect herself from COVID-19, as she is also battling stage 4 lymphoma that affects her immune system response. She told the news site that, given her condition, she doesn’t believe the COVID-19 vaccine gave her good protection against the virus.
She woke early on Saturday morning after hearing loud sounds coming from the kitchen, according to KTVU. When she went to check what was making the noises, she saw a bear illuminated by the light from the open freezer, SFGate reported.
“I could see the freezer door half open … and it was like in an instant, ‘Oh my gosh. This is a bear,’” she told KPIX. “And the next thing that happens is that I’m being torn apart.”
She screamed, awakening her son and her husband, and threw a quilt drying on the stairwell onto the bear, SFGate reported. She told the news site that after her son and husband appeared, the bear left the same way it got in: through the home’s unlocked front door.
Authorities have opened an investigation into the attack. Capt. Patrick Foy with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife told KTVU that they collected DNA samples from Hoffman-Curzi’s injuries and clothing to create a profile to identify the bear responsible for the mauling.
He said if officials are successfully able to identify the bear, they plan to remove and euthanize it.
“The scary part is (the bear) will do it again,” Hoffmann-Curzi told SFGate. “He’ll come to our house again because he knows there’s food in it. This is a dangerous bear.”
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